Controversial Monica own goal completes thrilling Australia comeback against Brazil 

Australia's players celebrates after scoring a second goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group C football match between Australia and Brazil
Australia came from two goals down to beat Brazil 3-2 Credit: Getty images

What a game, what a comeback, what entertainment. Australia against Brazil has long been the go-to fixture of the World Cup. And here in Montpellier it was clear why this was the fourth time the two countries have been pitched together in four World Cups in a row. Because this is what you want to watch. Not least in its eye-watering clash of styles.

Full of giddily aesthetic touches, Brazil played as if straight off the Copacabana. Australia, like an outback sheep rustler, demonstrated no nonsense, gave no quarter, were relentless in their physicality. And they gave a timely reminder that in the World Cup it is goals that matter. While Brazil may have been well ahead on the nutmeg count, the Aussies put the ball more frequently where it matters: in the net.

“The Australian mentality is to come out swinging when our back is against the wall, we like a fight,” said the woman of the match Chloe Logarzo. And as Brazil succumbed to the Australian body blows, it was, perhaps, inevitable time would catch up on their operation. They have by far the competition’s oldest squad: seven of the starting XI are well over 30, while 41-year-old Formiga is playing in her seventh World Cup.

Though age did not seem to wither them as the match began. They may be oldies, but their touch – Marta in particular – remains golden. In the first half the veteran captain delivered a masterclass of technique. And she was inevitably involved as Brazil took the lead. 

After turning down an Australian shout for a penalty on VAR (there had been an Aussie hand used in the build up), the referee Esther Staubli did not need it when Elise Kellond-Knight grabbed a handful of Leticia Santos’s shirt and hauled her down in the area. Marta was not going to eschew the opportunity to score her 16th World Cup goal.

Barbara stretches but is unable to keep out Monica's own goal Credit: REUTERS

The ageing Brazilians seemed to be in total control when Cristiane added a second. It was at the end of a superb team move. Tamires began it on the half-way line, leaving Emily Gielnik in her wash with a delightful nutmeg, before she laid the ball down the line to Debinha. The centre-forward provided Cristiane with the opportunity to head her fourth goal of the tournament.

Australia responded as they had done all half, by firing in crosses. This seems the default tactical approach of many teams at this tournament: get it wide and lump it in. Here, finally, the law of averages worked in their favour. In first half added time, Tamara Yallop put the ball on Chloe Logarzo’s head, she flicked on and Caitlin Foord scooped home a goal that offered a hint of hope.

Brazil started the second half without either Marta or Formiga, both succumbing to wear and tear.

Australia started it by firing in the crosses. And as Australia attacked, so Brazilian defensive shape began to wilt. It was no surprise that the equaliser came from – guess what – a cross. The excellent Logarzo sent one in which no one touched, including the bemused Brazilian keeper Barbara.

Sensing their opponents weakening, Australia piled forward. And took the lead. Once more, the ball was chucked into the mixer, this time the venerable defender Monica heading home. VAR was again involved, as Sam Kerr had clearly been offside in the build up. But, despite fury from the Brazilian players and bench alike, the goal stood.

Marta remonstrates with the referee after the final whistle Credit: Getty images

“This was one of the finest Australian performances I’ve seen, I’m really proud of the girls,” said the Australian coach Ante Milicic. “We respected them, but none of our girls were afraid of them.” 

The truth is, his approach worked: in the end, Brazil had no recourse to relentless Aussie bullying. The victors, meanwhile, celebrated at the end as if they had just won the tournament. They will not. Not least because there are others here who will not be rolled over.

Australia (4-3-3): Williams (Reign); Kellond-Knight (Reign), Catley (Reign), Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Carpenter (Portland Thorns); Logarzo (Washington Spirit), Van Egmond (Orlando Pride), Yallop (Klepp); Foord (Portland Thorns), Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Gielnik (Melbourne Victory). Subs Raso (Portland Thorns) for Gielnik 72; Roestbakken (Canberra Utd) for Foord 90. 

Brazil (4-1-4-1): Barbara (Kindermann); Leticia Santos (SC Sand), Kathellen (Bordeaux), Monica (Corinthians), Tamires (Fortuna Hjorring); Formiga (PSG); Andressa (Barcelona), Thaisa (Milan), Marta (Orlando Pride), Debinha (NC Courage); Cristiane (Sao Paulo). Subs Luana (Jeonbuk) for Formiga 46; Ludmila (Corinthians) for Marta 46; Beatriz (Hyundai Steel) for Cristiane 75. 

Full-time: Australia 3 Brazil 2

Von Egmond hacks clear, and the final whistle goes! Australia have completed a memorable comeback - trailing 2-0, they win 3-2 and remain very much alive in this world Cup. 

It finishes: Australia 3 Brazil 2

90+5 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Australia make a time-wasting late change: Roestbakken replaces Foord. 

90+3 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Nervy moment for Australia as Williams has to come out and punch Beatriz's cross clear. Beatriz then heads wide, but was there a foul in the box? The VAR says no. 

90 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

We'll have five minutes of time added on

89 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Australia try to keep the ball in the corner but Foorde is flagged offside. 

88 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

The substitute Luana becomes the third Brazilian to go into the book after clattering into Van Edmond. 

86 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

A frustrated Andressa is booked for catching Kellond-Knight with a flailing hand. A bit unlucky that, didn't look deliberate. 

Credit: Getty Images

83 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Brazil are flagging terribly. I'm probably tempting fate but they really don't look like getting an equaliser. 

80 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Great run by Andressa, weaving in between Australian defenders, but it ends with a shot deflected to safety. Andressa then collapses to the floor and is being treated for cramp. 

77 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Australia with a chance to wrap this up, but Kerr scuffs her shot from the edge of the box straight at Barbara. 

75 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

I'll level with you: questions will be asked about those Brazil half-time changes. They've not looked the same since. 

Speaking of surprising substitutions, Cristiane is replaced by Beatriz. 

Credit: REX

71 min - Australia 3 Brazil 2

Debinha again nearly gets in down the Brazil left but Williams is out quickly to gather. 

Australia respond with their first change: Raso on for Gielnik. 

GOAL! Australia 3 Brazil 2 (Monica OG 66')

The goal is given and Australia have completed the comeback! For me that is crazy - Monica is clearly affected by having to mark an offside Kerr. Ugh. 

66 min - Australia 2 Brazil 2

Goal disallowed! Australia think they've completed the comeback when Monica heads into her own net, but Kerr is adjudged to have been interfering and in an offside position. 

But wait just a moment, we will have a VAR review

65 min - Australia 2 Brazil 2

Andressa wreaks havoc down the Brazil left - twisting Kellond-Knight inside and out - before standing up a cross that Debinha can't direct on target. 

This game is crazily open! 

64 min - Australia 2 Brazil 2

Kellond-Knight wins a free-kick after screeching past Santos down the Australia left. Van Egmond whips it in right-footed, and it's almost turned into her own net by Thaisa. The resulting corner is eventually hacked clear. 

Credit: REUTERS

62 min - Australia 2 Brazil 2

It's so end to end now, with Australia taking their turn to bomb forward. Kerr is desperate to work the ball onto her right foot around the penalty spot, but she's eventually crowded out. 

61 min - Australia 2 Brazil 2

We're firmly into 'it's all happening here' territory, as Debinha looks certain to score from inside the box but she's denied by a last-ditch Catley block. Ludmila then dribbles an effort wide from the edge of the box. 

GOAL! Australia 2 Brazil 2 (Logarzo 58')

GOAAAAAAAAAAAALLL!!Australia are back level. Logarzo bends in a cross from the right that evades everyone and trickles past Barbara. Kerr caused a distraction with a clever neat-post run but there was no touch, and it's Logarzo's goal. 

57 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

Now it's Australia's turn to panic when defending a set-piece. Andressa's corner isn't cleared and it looks there may have been a handball in there. No penalty though. 

56 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

Australia just lacking the guile to break this Brazil defence down. Yallop tries to thread a pass through but its overhit and rolls into Barbara's grateful arms. 

It's a very warm night in Montpellier, which looks to be sapping the energy of some of the players. 

54 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

Australia have started brightly but Brazil are holding firm for now. They also have a real threat with Debinha on the counter. 

52 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

It's absolute bedlam in the Brazil area after Kellond-Knight floats in an out-swinging free-kick from the left that Barbara flaps at. The ball ends up landing at Yallop's feet but she hastily slices it over. 

Credit: REUTERS

50 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

Debinha has been class today. She nutmegs Carpenter and then bends an effort from the edge of the box that unfortunately for Brazil curls away from goal and almost hits the corner flag. 

48 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

Slightly surprisingly Brazil made two changes at the break: Luana and Ludmila on for Formiga and Marta. 

Formiga was on a booking so that makes sense, wonder if Marta is a fitness worry. 

46 min - Australia 1 Brazil 2

We're back under way. 

Half-time: Australia 1 Brazil 2

It looked like Australia were toast after Marta's penalty and Cristiane's header, but Foord has got them right back into it. 

At half-time it's: Australia 1 Brazil 2

Credit: Getty Images

GOAL! Australia 1 Brazil 2 (Foord 45')

Game on! Just before half-time Yallop whips a cross in that Logarzo flicks on and Foord sweeps home from about six yards. Australia may not be done just yet. 

45 min - Australia 0 Brazil 2

Carpenter is the outlet for Australia once more. Her pull-back from the right is a good one but Gielnik's shot from the edge of the box is tame and straight at Barbara. 

We'll have three - lagely VAR-induced - minutes of time added on. 

43 min - Australia 0 Brazil 2

Australia are understandably bombing forward but it means they're leaving gaps in behind. Debinha is again in space down the left but her pull-back evades everyone this time. 

40 min - Australia 0 Brazil 2

A slightly desperate looking Kerr wants a penalty after losing her footing in the box. The referee Esther Staubli waves away the appeals. 

GOAL! Australia 0 Brazil 2 (Cristiane 38')

Cristiane has done it again. A hat-trick on Sunday and another goal here.

Tamires produces a sumptuous nutmeg and then pass for Debinha, who delivers a perfect left-wing cross for Cristiane to nod home from about eight yards out. Lovely move. 

Credit: Getty Images 

38 min - Australia 0 Brazil 1

Australia create their first clear-cut chance of the game. Kellond-Knight cuts inside from the left and delivers a low cross that Kerr meets at the near post but with an effort that's straight at Barbara. Better from Australia. 

36 min - Australia 0 Brazil 1

Australia win another corner that this time Barbara punches clear. She then does well to come out and claim Foord's left-wing cross. 

33 min - Australia 0 Brazil 1

Marta in full flight remains one of the finest sights in football. She glides clear of a few Australia challenges, and looks to be full of confidence after that penalty.  

Credit: REUTERS

30 min - Australia 0 Brazil 1

Some debate over whether that was a penalty, but the way Kellond-Knight pulled Santos's shirt certainly gave the referee a decision to make. 

Australia are staring at an early exit. 

GOAL! Australia 0 Brazil 1 (Marta 27' pen)

Marta sends Williams the wrong way and Brazil lead. Marta is back - that's her 16th goal at World Cup finals. 

26 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Penalty Brazil! Santos is braught down clumsily by Kellond-Knight and Esther Staubli points to the spot. 

After a review, the decision is confirmed. 

25 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Santos is down after taking a hefty challenge. Happilly she looks fine to carry on though. 

22 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

No penalty!A handball in the build-up by Yallop means even if there was a foul it's no pen. 

21 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

No penalty! Yallop goes down under close attention from Thaisa but the referee says no pen. That looked like a penalty to me, and VAR is reviewing

19 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Cristiane is claiming she was elbowed by Van Egmond. There didn't appear to be a huge amount in that, and the VAR isn't interested. 

17 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Andressa is proving a real handful, and again she looks dangerous cutting onto her left foot. Her low cross just evades the late-arriving Debina. 

16 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Tricky work down the left from Foord wins Australia their first corner of the day. Formiga, who's everywhere at the moment. heads it clear. 

Credit: REUTERS

14 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Formiga picks up the first booking of the match after chopping down Yallop. That'll mean Formiga will miss Tuesday's potential decisive match against Italy. 

13 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Carpenter is posing a real threat getting forward from right-back. Once again she fizzes in a cross aimed at Kerr that Monica eventually bundles clear. 

11 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Australia are on top, but Brazil nearly spring them on the break. Marta's pass is a clever one for Cristiane but it's just overhit. 

10 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Kerr does well to get her head to Carpenter's right-wing cross on the edge of the box. There's just no way Kerr can score from there though, and it dribbles wide. 

8 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

First effort of the day is from Kellond-Knight, but her effort from about 30 yards is well off target. 

7 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Some really nice touches from Cristiane early on. It looks as though Brazil, who would take a draw, will sit deep and ask Australia to try and break them down. 

5 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Foord's cross is cleared after she does really well to work a yard out wide. Both teams showing promise in the early stages. 

3 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Tamires gets forward well from left-back for Brazil, but Williams can gather her near-post cross. 

2 min - Australia 0 Brazil 0

Brazil are in their changed strip of blue, while Australia are in their traditional green and gold. Australia stroking the ball around in the early stages. 

Kick-off

After the jaunty Brazilian anthem, we are under way. 

A reminder of the teams for this one:

Australia (4-3-3): Williams; Carpenter, Kennedy, Catley, Kellond-Knight; Yallop, Van Egmond, Logarzo; Gielnik, Keer, Foord

Brazil (4-4-2): Barbara, Santos, Kathellen, Monica, Tamires; Debinha, Formiga, Thaisa, Andressa; Cristiane, Marta

The teams are out

It's national anthem time. 

Advance Australia Faaaaaaair rings around the  Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier. 

What the group table looks like

Australia really can't afford to lose tonight. 

Meet the teams

My learned colleagues Molly McElwee, Fiona Tomas and Katie Whyatt produced a pre-tournament guide to every World Cup side. Here are the entries for tonight's teams. Marta, remember, starts for Brazil. 

Brazil 

World ranking: 10

Best World Cup performance: Runners-up 2007

Coach: Vadao   

Star player: Marta

Brazil have possibly the most recognisable name in women’s football heading their team in Marta, but the story of the squad announcement was Formiga’s inclusion. The 41-year-old midfielder, who plays for PSG, announced her retirement from international football after the Rio Olympics, but it seems could not help but return. France will be a record seventh World Cup for the Brazilian, who has amassed 167 international caps since 1995.

Marta starts for Brazil tonight  Credit: Getty Images

Australia

World ranking: 6  

Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finals 2007, 2011, 2015

Coach: Ante Milicic  

Star player: Sam Kerr Australia have lacked stability in the build up to the competition, with previous coach Alen Stajcic sacked in January and replaced by Ante Milicic. Milicic heads into the tournament with less than four months experience as the Matildas’ head coach, and made a bold decision in omitting Kyah Simon from the squad. The Houston Dash striker has scored five times in two previous World Cups, but recent injuries have left her with minimum playing time in the last months. Mary Fowler made the cut instead, and at 16 is the youngest player confirmed for the tournament. 

Bouncing back?

Afternoon everyone, welcome to our coverage of this Group C match between sixth-favourites to win the tournament Australia, and the 2007 finalists Brazil. 

Australia go into the match having lost their opener 2-1 against Italy on Sunday, while a Cristiane perfect hat-trick helped Brazil to a 3-0 victory over Jamaica. Having lost their previous nine matches, it was a precious three points for Vadao and his team. 

And the big news today is the confirmation that Marta will start for Brazil. "We spoke today and she is feeling well and gave me confidence," Vadao said. "Let's see how much time she can play, but she's ready to go."

Marta will be hoping she can have the same sort of influence as Cristiane - who herself was a fitness doubt - did on Sunday.  

Australia meanwhile make two changes from the side that lost in stoppage time to Italy, with Kellond-Knight and Gielnik replacing Polkinghorne and Raso respectively. 

The teams in full are:

Australia (4-3-3): Williams; Carpenter, Kennedy, Catley, Kellond-Knight; Yallop, Van Egmond, Logarzo; Gielnik, Keer, Foord

Brazil (4-4-2): Barbara, Santos, Kathellen, Monica, Tamires; Debinha, Formiga, Thaisa, Andressa; Cristiane, Marta

Kick-off is at 6pm BST.